Purvis resignation: The Hobbesian view…

Sorry for the three posts on the same subject in a couple of hours, but I think Mark Devenport’s blog piece flags up an interesting Hobbsian aspect of the Purvis resignation:

Having condemned the murder of Bobby Moffett and the subsequent intimidation of people in the Shankill area, Dawn Purvis today went an extra mile by parting company altogether with the UVF’s political wing, the PUP. Cynics may note that this puts her Stormont allowances beyond the grasp of any future sanction from the Independent Monitoring Commission.

However as Mark goes on to note:

Ms Purvis never relished the role of explaining away UVF transgressions – she clearly had no stomach to act as a mouthpiece for those who ordered Mr Moffett’s death. David Ervine’s widow Jeanette has described the murder as “the last straw*” and blamed “a handful of people who don’t want politics.”

It’s also, at this point, worth pointing out The Dissenter’s view of where this leaves Purvis’ voters in an earlier thread on Slugger…

If, as claimed, Purvis speaks (spoke) for ‘loyalism’ then she has disenfranchised that electorate by resigning from all, but keeping the salary.

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  • Stephen Blacker

    Dawn Purvis and her ideas will not change after this decision to leave the party she loved. Dawn will continue to speak for the people she always spoke for, to stay on as an MLA is not something that has not happened before.

    I am disappointed at Mark Devenport saying that Dawn has been “explaining away UVF transgressions” because she never did. Dawn called a crime a crime with no ambiguity except in journalists heads.

    For Mark to hint that Dawn made this move to put her “Stormont allowances beyond the reach of the IMC” proves to me that he never listened to Dawn and he certainly did not know her.

  • The Raven

    I’ll get chided for this, and probably rightly so, but, no offence, Mick – this is grave-dancing, and worse still, grave dancing with lashings of insult thrown in for good measure. I thought Devenport’s piece was the worst bit of “ah-but”-ery I’ve read in a long time.

    I’m not a journalist, and I understand and respect the right of journalism to look at every angle, but come on….right out of the gate, and it’s expenses….?? Surely that could at least have come down the list a little farther…

    Forgive my naivety – cos that’s all it really is – but I expected better from Devenport.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yes I think that Mr Devenports “expenses” comment is cynicism in the extreme (maybe he did not have her on his Blackberry) and I hope that if he or a BBC colleague interviews her, she might raise that herself.
    I honestly dont think that the first reaction of many people on hearing the news was “expenses”.
    Yet maybe people would be as cynical as I was…….this way she gets to keep her seat in Stormont next year. I found it slightly odd that she did not stand in the Westminster Elections. Is she already being head hunted? Alliance? Or maybe a Quango (even in times of cuts)?

    Resigning she might keep the seat. Or her halo.
    Its a peculiarity of Norn Iron Journalism that if you are linked to a Party which has caused a lot of deaths and gets more votes than anyone else……you are obviously a very bad person.
    But if you are linked to a Party which has caused a lot of deaths and gets one seat and a minimal vote you are an “authentic voice of the working class”.

  • Mick Fealty

    It was an entirely legitimate observation, and one which Devenport was very careful to contextualise.

  • well according to Davenport she’s just a sponger so I don’t see your comparison.

    Only people to have raised loyalist politicians on a pedestal as far as I can see are the apologists on the other side of the fence.

    If you had to say anything good about the PUP, at least they feigned genuine intention I guess.

  • TheHorse

    Why would Davenport be wrong about Purvis looking after her own financial interests after all every other MP, MLA, Councillor seems to be involved in politics to feather their own nests. There’s enough evidence around to prove this.

  • Oracle

    If Purvis didn’t ditch the UVF the soft middleclass votes that sustain her as MLA would ditch her.. so a pragmatic decision

  • Granni Trixie

    FJH: plus you get an award from Slugger (wondered why at the time).

  • So she doesn’t represent the working class at all really. Pragmatic seems just another word, in this instance, for selfish.

  • Alias

    Wasn’t the idea to give them well-paid jobs that were conditional on distancing themselves from violence as community workers or politicians? Effectively thereafter they are paid by the state to condemn the violence that they formerly supported. Offering financial incentive to stay on the straight-and-narrow was the core dynamic behind that strategy, so this is simply the system working as it was designed to work.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed.
    Of course Im sure she was awarded by Slugger for the best possible reasons.
    My own thought is that Slugger compromises independence by making awards to politicians….of any Party.
    As you know the Journos like to think they are holding politicians to account as a favour to the General Public. But who holds the Journos to account? Other Journos?

  • Rory Carr

    New Labour of late have been been a party in government that has caused an awful lot of deaths indeed but in that respect the party which once prided itself on being the “authentic voice of the working class” (as you put it) has demonstrated that it was in reality no more than the puppet of capitalist merchants of death and plunder.

    The Tories of course havr always been proud to claim that role for themselves are are now no doubt happy to be back in the saddle (with their little LibDem lick-spittles following along behind clinging to the horse’s tail).

  • joan

    i think it’s worth pointing out the contrast between what dawn purvis has done in the wake of the moffet murder and the sinn fein leadership’s behaviour after the killing of paul quinn. purvis has done the decent thing whereas one sinn fein leader after another joined a chorus of lies, denying what everyone in south armagh knew, which was that the ira had killed young quinn. worse than that most of the media colluded in the lie. peter robinson is punished by his voters for misbehaviour, gerry adams faced no sanction from his. different communities, different standards!

  • TheHorse

    Really. In working class areas there is two ways to get respect, being able to look after yourself and unafraid to speak out when needed and through fear. Unfortunetly for Mr Moffett it was two fists against a shotgun. Gangsters and drug dealers who rule by fear dont like people like him, he’s a threat to their lifestyles. Dawn Purvis got the message and decided to take the money and run.

  • Granni Trixie

    If the Moffett murder was ‘the last straw for ‘ DP, who knows what she tolerated previously. Wonder if we will see this development imagined by Gary Mitchell, a victim of loyalist intimidation in recent years (was that tolerated?).

    FJH: I think journalists are already in a pickle because of the shrinking pool of jobs.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie….exactly.
    Paraphrasing her she could NO LONGER defend the indefensible.
    But when the guy from UTV Live put it to her that the UVF had murdered 29 Protestants since it went on ceasefire, I couldnt help wonder about the transition phase…that some were defensible….some a bit iffy…..and some (like Mr Moffett) not defensible.
    It has been put to me on another Blog (not so far as I know mentioned here) that the murder of Mr Moffett presented Ms Purves with the same dilemna as the McCartney murder presented Mr Adams some years ago.
    Perhaps theres some merit in that. Although 29 murders on a ceasefire seems to be a different kettle of fish.

    Ah yes. Journalists.
    It would be interesting to know how many of the young people who undertook the Journalism course at the Metropolitan College in Belfast over the last few years actually got a PAID job which didnt include the words “would you like fries with that?”

  • Dare I say it? Well, why not… Ambitious journalists need an ‘angle’ as much as they need a ‘scoop’. I expected more from Mr Devonport. If he wants to find expense fiddles he does not have to look far among the motley crew at Westminster, let alone Stormont…Ms Purvis has made a decision based, she says, on the reality for her constituents, I would like to give her the benefit of the doubt and see what happens…

  • slug

    Mick — Hobbesian?

    As one who has actually read Thonas Hobbes’ Leviathan I cannot see what is “Hobbesian” here.

    Though the quote from that book about life being “solitary poor nasty brutish and short” may indeed apply if Loyalists had their way.

  • Alias

    I think he is referring to Purvis having only viable option among another of apparent options, i.e. she had to distance herself from supporting an active murder gang or be distanced from her income.

  • Alias

    Typo: “…having only one viable option among a number of apparent options…”

  • slug

    Do you mean Hobson’s rather than Hobbesian? Thomas Hobbes is a different person altogether from Thonas Hobson.

  • Pete Baker

    It’s Hobbesian as in viewing individuals as being inherently selfish.

  • Pete Baker

    I should add though that my initial reaction to this news was the same as that Mark Devenport noted of cynics.

    Not that I view Dawn Purvis as inherently selfish, but that it was simply a logical working through of the consequences of her resignation from the PUP.

    On reflection, I think there may be more to be seen in considering the possible reaction to Dawn Purvis’ statement yesterday, on behalf of the PUP, condemning the murder of Bobby Moffett.

  • Pete Baker

    slug

    It’s Hobbesian as in viewing individuals as being inherently selfish.

    And my initial reaction to this news was the same as that Mark Devenport noted of cynics.

    Not that I view Dawn Purvis as inherently selfish, but that it was simply a logical working through of the consequences of her resignation from the PUP.

    On reflection, I think there may be more to be seen in considering the possible reaction to Dawn Purvis’ statement yesterday, on behalf of the PUP, condemning the murder of Bobby Moffett.

  • slug

    Thanks for explaining it Pete, I get it now. The “war of every many against every man”.

    Or woman.

  • Alias

    Yes, I confused it with Hobson’s choice. I blame it on the context: Ms Purvis choosing between her expenses/job and her loyalty to a murder gang – with self-serving considerations pre-determining the ‘choice’.

    As Hobbesian, I would think it refers to individuals and groups being under the control of the state since ‘The Process’ is entirely state-sponsored and micro-managed by the state, with the state proffering a Hobbesian vision as the alaternative to that control (e.g. if you don’t support The Process then you get a return to violence).

  • Alias

    That’s a good focus, Pete. Is there a connection between her releasing the PUP statement yesterday on the murder of Bobby Moffet and her resignation today? It could indicate that there is strong internal devision in the PUP to the rebuke, and that she found herself on the losing side of it.

  • Alias

    Just to add that if she was actually pushed out as a reaction to the rebuke, then Devenport’s ‘cynicism’ is misplaced since she would have been faced with another Hobson’s Choice – having no real choice (and no ulterior purpose) in resigning.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ….and the relevance to Dawn Purvis is……..

  • HeinzGuderian

    Ermm,not quite. Mr Moffett was one of the scumbag terrorists !!

    A better analogy would have been Mr McCartney…………remember him ? Gerry and Cover Ups,not forgetting the good people of Short Strand…………oh,wait……..

  • snagglepuss

    Militant Loyalism has always been a “street thing”. The PUP have gone the way of Gary McMichael’s attempt to make the UDA political. It won’t work. The guys who made the UDA/UVF “work” were all muscle not political animals. Dawn Purvis has done the right thing. Its sad but much sadder for the people who live under the yoke of these guys.